2006, 20th Century Fox/WWE Films

John Bonito
Joel Simon
Jonathan Winfrey
Michelle Gallagher (story and screenplay)
Alan B. McElroy (screenplay)
David Eggby
Dallas Puett

John Cena (John Triton)
Robert Patrick (Rome)
Kelly Carlson (Kate Triton)
Anthony Ray Parker (Morgan)
Abigail Bianca (Angela)
Jerome Ehlers (Van Buren)
Manu Bennett (Bennett)
Damon Gibson (Vescera)
Drew Powell (Joe)
Frank Carlopio (Frank)
Firass Dirani (Al-Qaeda Leader)

WWE superstar John Cena makes his film debut with this throwback to old school action flicks that would mark the beginning of the company’s most well-known franchise.

When he disobeys a direct order but successfully rescues a group of soldiers from Al-Qaeda, Marine John Triton is honorably discharged from service. Returning home to South Carolina, John reunites with his wife Kate but is not sure what to do as his mind set has only been in the military. He finds a job as a security job but things don’t bode well when he confronts the ex-boyfriend of an employee of the company yet he manages to stop both the ex and his bodyguards. However, John is fired from the job.

Feeling a bit depressed, Kate suggests they take a little vacation and John agrees. En route to their destination, they run into a band of thieves led by Rome. When Rome and his crew kidnap Kate, John now must his military skills to rescue his wife and face any obstacle that stands in his way. While he may have been a military man, but this may be John’s most dangerous mission yet.

WWE’s film outlet has made stars out of Hulk Hogan with the likes of No Holds Barred and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with films like The Scorpion King and Walking Tall. With this 2006 film, it would become not only known for the film debut for another one of their superstars, but it would become the launch of a surging entity in which the sports entertainment company would cast their stars in films of various genres, especially ones that would bring their stars’ strong suits.

For what would be the first of a current five-film series, John Cena makes his film debut in the role of the titular Marine, John Triton. Triton is somewhat of a one-dimensional figure whose only asset is his military background. The opening of the film shows him disobeying orders in a rescue mission that despite being successful, leads to his honorable discharge. Dressed all in black and sporting camo face paint, it gives the viewer of what to expect action wise or perhaps this pays homage to another John, John Matrix in the finale of Commando.

Despite some spurts that show his softer side when it comes to his wife Kate, John seems to have the feel of a late 80’s, early 90’s throwback action hero in the B-movie vein. His adversaries in the film are led by Robert Patrick, who plays it off well as an unhinged villain and future Arrow villain Deathstroke himself, Manu Bennett, playing one of Rome’s allies who poses quite a threat for Triton. Kelly Carlson proves she has some spunk in her arsenal rather than playing a typical damsel in distress. Her tiffs with Abigail Bianca’s Angela start out verbally but soon delve into the physical during the final act.

The action of the film itself contains loads of gunfire and explosions. However, Cena does hold his own, utilizing his in-ring skills in terms of grappling while using a bit of both Western boxing and at times, military close combat skills in the vein of perhaps Krav Maga. Of course, the action is what to expect from what looks to be a throwback style film.

The Marine is not a bad action film if you like throwbacks that would be the beginning of a fruitful career for John Cena, who may seem one-dimensional for the most part here. However, it’s clear he has risen career wise and fans of his films today may want to see where he got his start film-wise with this first of WWE Studios’ most well known franchise.